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Winchester hosts candidates debate

The North Dundas Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) with the Dundas Federation of Agriculture (DFA) hosted a candidates debate September 22nd at the Winchester Arena.

Provincial election candidates in attendance included Liberal Mark A. MacDonald, Libertarian Darcy Neal Donnelly, NDP Elaine MacDonald, and, PC Jim McDonell. Absent was the Green Party’s Justin Reist.

In an email to the Leader, Reist stated: “Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend the debate in Winchester due to my responsibilities with school. ”

The debate got underway with a short introduction and welcome by Jackie Pemberton, President of the DFA. Bill Smirle, Secretary for the NDCC played emcee and kept everyone on target and on time.

PC candidate, Jim McDonell, opened the introductory speech portion of the night where each candidate had five minutes to say what they pleased.

McDonell talked about his upbringing, his political background, and his plans for the area. “Strong farms are vital to a strong Ontario,” said McDonell.

He claimed that Ontario is a “have not province for the first time in our history,” going on to talk about getting rid of government red-tape and putting “more money back into the hands of the people.”

He finished with a plea: “Vote for the party you can trust to do what they say they’ll do.”

Next up to the podium was Libertarian candidate, Darcy Neal Donnelly, who began by saying that he was there to “create awareness of our political party.”

He shared that he and his party “believe in law and order” and that people should be “treated equally, not even our government will be above the law.”

He went on to say that his party is “against government assuming control.”

He repeated an earlier plea for recruits and funds: “We’re looking for people to join us. We’re looking for new leaders. We’re looking for financial sponsors.”

Third in the introductory lineup of statements was Liberal Candidate Mark A. MacDonald who began by saying, “it’s nice to see so many people getting engaged with the political process.”

He them moved directly into his personal accountability record saying “I’ve been a fire fighter my whole life – people counted on me, people trusted me, and I never let them down.”

As for his party’s record, he had this to say: “We’re living in a time of great global uncertainty.”

“Ontario is a great place to live. Would you rather be living in New York?” He continued, “Ontario is leading the way on the economic front.”

Last, but not least, in the opening lineup of introductions was the NDP’s Elaine MacDonald who reminded the audience that there aren’t just two choices in this election: “You have a third choice.”

She told the audience that if her party were elected they would first “have to kickstart the economy (by) investing in job creation” as well as by “reducing taxes for small businesses.”

Secondly, she promised the NDP would “strengthen public services” by making education affordable, creating access to jobs, ensuring adequate pensions and care for seniors, as well as improving access to healthcare.

Upon completion of the opening remarks from each of the four candidates present, Smirle opened the floor to audience questions.
People came from far and wide to ask candidates some tough questions, most of which centered around farming, health, education, jobs and poverty issues.

The theme for the majority of the questions appeared to be one of government accountability.

The second question of the night fell into several categories: education, jobs, poverty, and government accoutnability. “How do I advance?”

The individual in question is on welfare, applying for jobs, but getting turned down due to lack of experience. Government response to the predicament was to suggest further education. But, there’s no money to pay for the education and this person doesn’t qualify for any of the government programs.

Mark MacDonald’s response: “There’s a number of programs out there. I’d be more than willing to meet with you after and get you as much help as I can and see what resources there are.”

McDonell, in response to MacDonald’s answer, said that the Liberals are a “party that has lost touch with the people it represents.” He continued, “we have to set priorities and put people first.”

The fifth question of the night received a massive response from the crowd. The question was a matter of trust and healthcare. A woman from the audience reminded candidates that the PCs were accusing Liberals of putting Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) on the chopping block.

She said, “I believe past behaviour predicts future behaviour” and then reminded everyone of Mike Harris and Tim Hudak’s history with chopping healthcare. She asked McDonell, “How do we trust PCs not to do this again?”

McDonell’s response: “You can trust us because we have a reputation of being trusted.” He went on to point out that the Liberals have “much more aggressive spending.”

He further accused Liberals of covering up a plan to close WDMH: “ordered Liberal government to turn over records” and they haven’t, “so we can’t get down to paperwork that tells us they were closing.”

In response, Mark MacDonald  glided over McDonell’s accusations and instead focussed on the people of Winchester: “The people of Winchester deserve a lot of the credit” for the WDMH.

He continued, “The Ontario Liberal government along with the federal government and the people of Winchester put that hospital there.”
Another question centered on Bill 152 and poverty reduction.

McDonell’s response: “I can’t speak for the laws now because it hasn’t been ours for eight years. We have a plan to get people working and lower your cost.”

Elaine MacDonald commented on the state of things now saying, “poverty has grown in Ontario” and the “system is obviously broken.” To support her opinions she pointed to the fact that many “of the people who attend food banks are the working poor” and that “homelessness is growing” in the province.

In addition she talked about the difficulty for those trying to get away from government assistance: “the penalties for working are a deterrent.”

She claimed that she and the NDP “have a multi-faceted approach” to the issue and most importantly, government needs to “treat people with dignity.”

The most common concern for voters seems to be the question of HST and taxes on essential items.

To this, Mark MacDonald asked: “Who wants hospitals and who wants schools?”

“Now is not the time for change.” He continued, “ it’s not about the tax that we pay, it’s about the value of our tax dollar.”
In response, McDonell questioned where the money went.  He pointed to the Liberals who “increased 60 per cent spending on healthcare” and questioned, “on what? Have you seen?”

He reminded the audience that in terms of money and taxes, “it comes down to managing the system.”

After more than twenty questions, it was time for concluding remarks.

Elaine MacDonald stated: “We are the only party that’s promising to put people first.”

Mark MacDonald reiterated an earlier opinion that it “is not the time for change” and invited voters to “mark your mark for mark” on election day.

Donnelly reminded the audience that he and the Libertarians are “asking you to help us shrink the government of its control over us.”
McDonell concluded by reiterating his views on Dalton McGuinty and by reminding voters that “Tim Hudak has a masters in economics.”

Owen Shortt, President of the NDCC, finalized things by thanking the candidates for their courage in sharing their views and in running for election.

For those still unsure of where they stand politically, there’s a website that might help: Answer the questions; find where you stand.


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Perspectives – A Time for Responsibility

The time for responsibility to our province is upon us once again. We are in the throes of a political campaign to help us decide who will be the next governing party in our province. I am awed by the lack of political campaign signs along the roadways and on lawns.

Does this mean that the people who are running for office don’t have the funds to mount a huge campaign with lots of signs and fliers in the mail? Does it mean that the party who has been governing most recently is complacent about this being a “shoe in?” Does it mean that there is a malaise about the whole idea of going to the polls to elect those who will be making decisions for us?

I have, over the years, thought that being “apolitical” was the way to be when one was a Christian.

What I have discovered, to my delight and to my chagrin, is that we should be very political. We should be standing up for what we believe and ensuring that those who want to be elected know precisely what we think is necessary for us to live in a province where everyone counts.
When you look at the gospel stories, Jesus was anything but “apolitical.” He wasn’t shy about telling the powers that be what needed to be done in order for there to be justice for all.

More often than not, Jesus was challenging the political leaders of his time. More often than not, too many of us cannot be bothered to exercise our right to choose.

I ask each of you, please, take the time to find out what the candidates stand for. Find out if there is someone who represents what you believe. Attend all-candidates meetings if you can.

But most important of all be sure that you have a voice on October 6th. Vote for the candidate of your choice.

Whew, now that I have that out of my system, I want to share with you that October 17th marks 10 years that the Dundas County Food Bank has had a branch in Morrisburg.

It’s difficult to know how to observe this anniversary.

If there has to be no food bank in Dundas County, let it be as a result of people having enough resources to buy food rather than there not being enough resources for us to continue to serve those people who need our assistance.

I ask you to support you local food bank in whatever way you can – through food donations, through financial donations or through donations of your time as a volunteer.

Jesus said  “when you feed the hungry, you feed me.”  Our responsibility carries on as we love one another, as Jesus loves us.

Rev. Sue McCullough
Anglican Parish of Morrisburg, Iroquois & Riverside Heights


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Husband-wife duo, same place, same year, a golf anomaly

Jamie Scott, assistant proshop coordinator at Upper Canada Golf Course, was taken aback last Monday, September 19 when he was asked by one of his marshals, Mike Bradley, “what does a blonde from South Carolina have that you don’t.”

The answer, a hole in one on the 95 yard, par-three 13th hole.

The hole in one was dropped by Donna Notman in just her fourth game of the 2011 season, and what makes the accomplishment even more unique is that her husband, Jim, had an ace on the same hole earlier this year.

The Notmans were playing with Mike and Evonne Mabo last Monday.

Donna and Evonne were playing a best ball and when they got to the 13th tee, Evonne joked that they were doing well. She also joked about a hole in one.

“When Donna hit, the ball started rolling towards the pin (back right corner),” says Jim. “It seemed to stop by the pin, and we told her ‘you are really close’.”

“Someone had not put the pin in properly and when we got to the green, the ball was in the hole but was pinned by the flag pole.”
When the pin was pulled the ball dropped to the bottom of the cup.

It was the first hole in one for Donna who took up the game after retiring five years ago.

Not so for husband Jim and his hole in one in the spring.

Jim was playing with Wayne Domanko and Paul Coolican when he dropped his ace on the 13th. That day the pin was tucked behind the imposing sand trap on the left side of the green.

It was Jim’s third hole in one, adding to one he scored at the Morrisburg Golf Course and another on the par three 181 yard seventh hole at Upper Canada.

“It was very exciting,” said Evonne, who with husband Mick figured it was probably “very unusual for a husband and wife to both have a hole in one on the same hole in the same year”.


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Skating rink in Morrisburg plaza for the 2011 Christmas season?

On  September 20th, the Morrisburg Business Improvement Association (BIA) requested permission to put a skating rink in the Morrisburg Plaza for the Christmas season.

According to BIA member Bill Ewing, the requested location would be just south of the clock tower starting “at the first tree and going down to the last tree.”

The plan is to “stay in the center of it” approximately four feet from the canopy. Ewing explained that the BIA would put “plastic down first so (the ice) doesn’t get into the interlock.” He also said that the boards used to frame the rink would be about six inches high.

Ewing pledged: “If approved, (the BIA) will be looking after everything including liability insurance.”

The proposed time line for the rink would include  a starting date of the first Saturday in December and lasting until students go back to school in January.

The plan is “designed more for kids than adults,” said Ewing.

During later discussion, council members voiced their concerns on the proposal.

Hugh Garlough, Manager of Public Works, was worried about  liability. He indicated the ice and the boards surrounding it as possible hazards. He summed up his  feelings saying, that there are “just too many variables here.”

Councillor Jim Graham agreed, saying that “we have to have something back from staff on the ramifications of doing this.”
Councillor Evonne Delegarde voiced concern “about it turning into a hockey rink.”

She also pointed out a security issue: “Somebody’s not going to be there 24 hours to watch this.”

Council members were also concerned about damage to the interlocking brick as well as with the details of how the rink would ultimately be dismantled.

In addition, Councillor Archie Mellan was concerned as to whether all shop owners, especially those directly surrounding the proposed rink, had been contacted about the idea.

While each of the council members seemed to have some concerns, the one thing they all agreed on was the novelty of the idea.

As Mayor Steven Byvelds stated: “Council is in favour of the concept, but just has (a lot) of questions.”

Byvelds proposed that staff come up with a list of questions and concerns about the project. The list will then be presented to the BIA. Once council has answers and feedback to their concerns they will move forward with a decision.


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Around the Township…

Not everyone was able to dig in and help with the South Dundas Community Playground build in the Earl Baker Park on Saturday. For those of you who could, and obviously for those of you who did, we have tried to include as many photos as possible in this week’s edition of The Leader. For even more photos of everyone who took part and of the massive amount of work carried out, you are invited to check out the Cruickshank Amphitheatre website ( where Bill and Sonja Laurin have made more than 300 photos available for everyone’s enjoyment.

That’s one busy weekend down and another busy weekend is just around the bend. That is this Sunday, October 2 when the volunteers at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary host their annual Nature and Wildlife Day. The annual event will run this Sunday, rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is a major fund raiser for the Sanctuary and admission is $6 (cash only) per person. Children 12 years and under are invited a no cost. Again this year, visitors will enjoy a number of shows including the Birds of Prey Show, Falcons Environmental, Reptiles of the World and the Muskoka Wildlife Centre Native Animal Presentations. Children will be able to participate in wild duck banding, enjoy the petting farm, and participate in a number of children’s activities and arts and crafts. Be sure to take a few extra dollars for the silent auction or for a bite to eat  at the on-site canteen.  The annual Wildlife Day provides a wonderful fall outing for the whole family, and we highly recommend it to anyone who has never attended. Children will have the opportunity to ‘get up close and personal’ with a number of animals…sometimes a skunk or two, often times a snake and definitely some wild ducks. It provides a wonderful learning experience for kids and adults alike and is presented in a most fun way.

Last week we wrote this column at the last minute (we do that pretty much every week)…and asked our fellow workers…is tomorrow the first day of fall (September 21st). The answer yelled back was of course, ‘yes’. Wrong! Fall didn’t officially arrive until Friday, but quite frankly with the weather we have been getting, we wonder if perhaps they are all mistaken and it won’t be here for at least another couple of days. We do realize this has got to come to an end sooner or later. This week’s discussion has been on apple pie…tis the season. The best way to eat apple pie remains up in the air…with cheese, warm with ice cream melting on top or smothered with maple syrup…or how about all three of the above.


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Lions lose to Hawks in home opener

The Morrisburg Junior B Lions played their first regular season game on home ice, Sunday, for a start that coach Thom Racine says was disappointing.

After falling behind the visiting Winchester Hawks early on, the Lions managed to pull out of the first period behind by just two goals (4-2).

They got it together in the second period, with back-to-back counters early on to even it, but that was it.

The Hawks added two goals in the second and another three in the third to claim a 9-4 win.

“We really responded in the second period and tied it up, but then we forgot who we were playing,” said coach Racine. “You can’t give the puck away and make mental errors against the best team in the league.”

“In the third period we were skating with them, but then we had one of those kind of errors I am trying to cut down on.”

“Winchester is a good team. They are physical and don’t get me wrong, they played very well. They are a veteran team and they know how to intimidate.”

The Hawks went up 4-2 in the first period on goals by Evan Walker, Graham Loyst, Paul Bernard-Corbeil and Josh Stubbings.

The Lions answered with goals by Ryan Ward (unassisted) and Alex Steingruber (on the power play from Clarke Veenstra and Francis Roberge).

Rookie Lion, Ryan Dunbar got it rolling in the second period with the first junior B goal of his career from Marc Antoine Kamel and Brayden Girard.

According to Racine, the goal and resulting celebration didn’t sit well with Hawks’ defenceman Paul Bernard-Corbeil whose blow to Dunbar resulted in a match penalty.

“Ryan left the game, but he came back.”

The Lions also took advantage of the five minute penalty with Steingruber scoring on the power play from Ryan Ward and Clarke Veenstra to tie the game 4-4.

That however, was it for the Lions. The Hawks got two more from Stubbings and Loyst (short-handed) to end the second period in the lead 6-4.

Stubbings, Brock Burge and Evan Walker made it a 9-4 Hawks win.

Mikael Dion started in net for the Lions and after 7:30 was relieved by Ryan Cooper.

“We didn’t get the goaltending and Mikael knew it,” said Racine. “He was fine with being yanked. Ryan did a good job going in, in relief. For his first taste of Junior B action, I thought he was good.”

Unfortunately, Racine says he may have lost Steingruber for a couple of weeks with an injury. “It’s a huge loss if we lose him for any length of time. He’s a great player.”

Racine says the loss on their home ice was tough for the Lions, but “I expect them to learn from their mistakes. It was a quiet dressing room after the game, and I let them wallow in it for a couple of minutes. They were disappointed.”

This week the Lions are preparing to take on the Char-Lan Rebels in Morrisburg, Friday night (September 30) at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, they are on the road to Alexandria to take on the Glens at 2:30 p.m.


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Paving the plaza

On September 20th, after some discussion, South Dundas council approved the recommendation of Manager of Public Works, Hugh Garlough, to extend the current contract with Malyon Excavation Ltd. for the Morrisburg Plaza paving.

Garlough initially made the recommendation to council at the September 6th meeting where he was then charged with the task of determining whether Malyon would consider doing the extra work for the same price.

In his presentation to council, Garlough confirmed Malyon’s consent to extend the contract at the same cost. In addition, he pointed out that “the price we got this year for asphalt was very, very reasonable as you can see by how under budget it was.”

The contract has been extended to “continue paving east on Main Street, to connect to the new pavement at the east end of Pinkus Plaza” as well as continuing north into the parking area by ten feet.

According to Garlough, “we had to go north because this is where the catch basins are” located. Much of the paving is being done to correct the drainage issue in that section of the shopping mall.

The project is expected to begin “October 3rd with completion by October 21, 2011 weather permitting.”


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‘Let them be kids’

Saturday, residents of the South Dundas community showed their true colours…their wonderful community spirit…when some 250 plus showed up at the Earl Baker Park in Morrisburg to assist with the building of the ‘Let them be kids’ playground that has now been dedicated to the SD&G Highlanders.

It was a wonderful, wonderful event for this entire community. In fact the whole project from start (in June) to finish (on Saturday) has really captured the interest and support of this community. It was a wonderful thing to see.

From the start those directly involved in the committee have kept a low profile and let the community step forward, and while we are in awe of the community response, we do have to thank those who launched the project, steered it through some very busy fund raising events, and then pulled on their gloves and went to work on Saturday.

In all events there are leaders, and in all successful events these leaders are exceptional people…they lead by example…they motivate…they garner support…and they organize…and in this case they did it all in a pleasant, inspiring way.

So we would like to thank each and every one of the committee members for all of their hard work, their long hours and their dedication to the project…Matt McCooeye, Ben Macpherson, Lois Casselman, Mike Domanko, Janet Martel, Joe McCooeye, Brian Shaver, Rosemary Laurin, John Morrow, Jack Barkley and Steve Morrow.

Also a big thank you to all of the people who worked so closely with this core group. You know who you are. We know who you are and the kids probably know who you are. So anytime you want to stop in at the park and swing a swing, or slide a slide, by all means you are most welcome.

South Dundas Community playground is up and running…for the whole community, young and not so young, to come out and enjoy.


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Sweet Cherry Wine, drinks to ‘champion’ success at Trillium

Although they knew they had a good pony on their hands, they didn’t know how good she really is.

They found out on the weekend of September 8-11.

That’s when four Sarabeau Stable riders and their ponies competed at the Trillium Provincial Equestrian Championship at Caledon Equestrian Park at Palgrave, Ontario, and while “everybody did amazing, and everyone had good rounds,” it was Sweet Cherry Wine who stole the show.

Owned and ridden by Rayanna Marcellus in the Medium Pony Division, Sweet Cherry Wine was judged overall champion thanks to some really good rides.

On her first day, Sweet Cherry placed eighth and 10th, over fences. Day two saw her finish first and second over fences and third on flat. The combined points gave her the overall ‘medium pony’ championship.

“It’s a tough competition,” said Sarabeau Stable trainer Cheryl Levere. “There are a lot of horses there that compete at top level shows. We are just doing a little local circuit.”

“Sweet Cherry’s two rounds were absolutely amazing. I was able to watch 10 others go and none of them compared to Sweet Cherry’s rounds.”

While the competition is judged on the horses, Levere credits Marcellus for her part in the win. “It’s purely judged on the horse. However, it’s an overall picture, and you have to have a good rider.”

Also riding at the Trillium were Courtney Casselman on Piccolini, Julie Julien on Palakari and Josee Marleau Vallieres on Sentimental Journey. In addition, Marcellus rode Short Notice in Small Pony and Picco in B Equitation.

“It was a great learning experience for all of them,” said Levere. “They all had amazing rounds and you have to remember that none of them had ever done anything like this before. They all stepped up. It was a great first year for Sarabeau. Every year is going to get better. They all know what to expect now.”

Sarabeau Stable owner Sandy Marcellus (Rayanna’s mom) was extremely proud of the riders and the horses, particularly Sweet Cherry Wine.

“We knew she was a good pony, but for us to have a champion pony is fantastic. We were up against a lot of big barns and there was a lot of competition there. Every division had between 35 and 50 riders. It’s great.”


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A dream realized by hundreds of volunteers

“The fact that you see kids and they’re smiling, that’s why we did this,” said Jack Barkley, a member of the South Dundas Community Playground Committee on Saturday, September 24, as he stood watching the children of South Dundas try out their new community playground.

From preschoolers on the super slide to older children on the pummel wall and swing bars, the  new playground was alive with activity. In a single day, volunteers,  arriving with tools, shovels, rakes and a lot of good will, started at 8 a.m., built the entire site and made the 2 p.m. deadline to open the new South Dundas Community Playground.

“Our community came together to do a wonderful thing in a single afternoon,” Barkley said. “I just hope the spirit of all this carries forward.”

Matt McCooeye, chair of the Playground committee, led the dedication ceremony.

“On June 8, we stood here, in this place, telling you of the start of this project,” he said. “Three months later, we have a playground. Our goal was to raise $100,000 (which was matched by the not-for-profit group Let Them Be Kids, which also provided expertise and a blue print for construction to the committee) and we raised $117,000 with more still coming in. We hoped to get 175 volunteers out to help today. We got 250.”

“It is incredible to see what we have accomplished,” said committee member, Mike Domanko. “We have built more than a playground here today. We have built a community. We owe many thanks to our volunteers, our neighbours and our friends.”

A very special moment in the ceremony came when the Playground was officially dedicated the SD&G Highlanders, past, present and future.
Led by the Glens’ Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Brooks (ret.HLCol), and Bill Shearing, former members of the Glens and other area veterans made their way to the front. Among them, were World War II veterans Harry Towes and Ervin Clements.

The Glens procession was greeted with applause and cheers  from the large crowd that only grew louder and louder as the soldiers passed.
“I cannot tell you what a fantastic tribute to this community and to our regiment this dedication is,” said Lt.-Col. Brooks in his address. “I am absolutely struck by the work and the co-operation that has gone into this playground and deeply honoured that you have seen fit to dedicate it to the Glens. And I also have the great pleasure of telling you all that the last nine members of our regiment, still serving in Afghanistan, have now made it home and are safe.”  

The flag for the new playground was raised by Emma Morrow, Keltey McCooeye, Xandra Furo and Kai Morrow.

In a very appropriate alternate to the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony, the children of South Dundas opened their own playground by running through ribbons made of dozens of coloured hands, symbolic of their participation in the project.
Then the children re-dedicated the playground in their own special way. They played.